Parasound’s new $1,199 Zphono XRM phono preamplifier (pictured above and below, click on images for larger versions) bridges the price gap between its entry-level Zphono at $399 and its award-winning Halo JC 3 Jr, at $2,995. The new model includes balanced XLR outputs, a switchable rumble filter, a mono/stereo switch, plus a continuously variable load adjustment for moving-coil cartridges that allows adjustment between 50Ω and 1050Ω. Separate input jacks and independent circuits for MC and MM cartridges mean that you can use dual turntables, each fitted with a different cartridge.
‘Our current Zphono is the ideal product for entry-level vinyl lovers,’ said Richard Schram, of Parasound. ‘We’ve noticed the fast-growing popularity of more expensive turntables and increasingly high-performance MM and MC cartridges. With the Zphono XRM’s adjustable load impedance knob (rather than DIP switches) MC cartridge users can easily make on-the-fly adjustments to achieve the best sound. And with its rumble filter and mono/stereo switching, the Zphono XRM provides even more control for serious vinyl lovers.’
The stereo/mono switch on the Zphono XRM adds the left and right channels together so users can optimise sound quality when playing mono LPs, however using the ‘mono’ setting can also improve sound quality when playing worn, scratched or poorly stamped stereo LPs. ‘The mono/stereo switch is a really useful feature,’ said Claver Harper, of National AV Solutions, which distributes Parasound in Australia, ‘yet it’s one that’s only sometimes fitted to high-priced phono preamps, and almost never to phono preamps selling at the Zphono XRM price.’
Harper told Australian Hi-Fi Magazine that he was also impressed that Parasound had been able to fit such an effective high-pass filter to the Zphono XRM. ‘If you switch on the Zphono’s rumble filter, you’ll switch in an 18dB per octave high-pass filter which will totally remove any rumble actually recorded on the LP itself, but it will also prevent environmental noise caused by mechanically transmitted vibration in your listening room from muddying your system’s low-frequency performance,’ he said.
The Zphono XRM has gold-plated single-ended RCA output jacks and balanced gold-plated XLR outputs with a high common mode rejection ratio (CMRR) to reject external sources of noise. Significantly, rather than using a low-cost ‘plug pack’ power supply, the Parasound Zphono XRM has a properly-designed, high-capacity/low-noise power supply built in.
Available now, the Parasound Zphono XRM sells for $1,199.
For more information, contact National AV Solutions